Low-income homeowners could be eligible for real estate tax relief

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Starting this summer, homeowners in Charlottesville may qualify for tax relief to help them with skyrocketing property values.

The Charlottesville Housing Affordability Program will help people whose homes are valued at $375,000 or less and make less than $55,000 keep their home with a grant from the Charlottesville City Council.

Mayor Nikuyah Walker is a big advocate for the program.

"While we have a very wealthy community, we know that a lot of families are struggling,” said Walker. “And I think it's one of the major tools that will help low-income homeowners maintain their housing."

She said the program is an effort to keep Charlottesville diverse.

"We have displacement happening rapidly, it's been happening for years,” said Walker. “And one thing we know is that people can't afford to live here. Now when developers go and build new developments, let say the 10th and Paige, Monticello/Dairy project that has the potential based on the potential tax increases of neighboring houses to displace individuals. A program like this can prevent that."

Households making under $25,000 will receive 100 percent tax relief. Incomes up to $35,000 can get $1,000 relieved, incomes up to $45,000 are eligible for $450 relieved, and incomes up to $55,000 can get $375 in tax relief.

Todd Divers, the Charlottesville Commissioner of Revenue, said he has been working with the city council to achieve this.

"Anybody on a fixed income whose income is not going to keep up with rising assessments is going to one day have a hard choice to make,” said Divers. “Do they go ahead and sell out and move? What are they going to do? Hopefully, this helps."

Homeowners should find applications for tax relief in their mailboxes by July 1.

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